Saturday, 16 April 2011

Skin Hyperpigmentation: Skin Care Ranges

Last week I talked about the various cosmetic treatments available for skin pigmentation. This week I want to discuss some of the skin care ranges that are available. Many of the creams and serum targeted at brightening the skin include Vitamin C as the principal active ingredient. Vitamin C (or Ascorbic acid) is a potent anti-oxidant that protects the skin from the effects of free radicals, promotes collagen synthesis and lightens areas of abnormal pigmentation.

Vitamin C treats skin pigmentation by inhibiting an enzyme called tyrosinase which regulates melanin production. It is important to choose the 'right' sort of Vitamin C when it comes to skin care. Ascorbic acid is not particularly stable in solution unlike derivatives such as Magnesium Ascorbyl Phophate so it's worth checking the ingredients list. Having said that, many of the ranges I investigated specified that they include a stable form of Vitamin C. Other active ingredients believed to regulate melanin production and 'de-pigment' the skin include Kojic acid, Azelaic acid, Retinoic acid (Tretinoin), Niacinamide and some Licorice (Glycyrrhiza) derivatives.

The best skin care regime for removing areas of darker pigmentation will include a cream or serum to lighten the affected areas and regulate melanin production, a chemical exfoliant to breakup and remove the areas of pigmentation (AHA's such as Glycolic and Lactic acids) and a good sunscreen.

I have already mentioned a few products designed to treat skin pigmentation issues in previous posts, such as the Alpha H White Gold, the Shiseido White Lucency range and Vitamin C & E serum from Renee Rouleau. There are quite a few other brands that offer targeted skin care regimes, this isn't a comprehensive list but these are some of the ones I thought sounded interesting.

Murad's Environmental Shield regime targets fine lines and wrinkles as well as pigmentation using a stable form of Vitamin C. I like Murad and particularly like the fact that it was created by a dermatologist. Environmental Shield encompasses a complete range of products from cleanser to eye cream. The specific treatment product from the regime includes the Essential-C Daily Renewal Complex and Active Radiance Serum, both of which have clinically proven efficacy. As well as the Vitamin C complex, the Active Radiance Serum includes AHAs to promote cell turnover so it's a bit of a double whammy. I'm told by my source in the know that the best way to use these is to apply the Daily Renewal Complex in the morning and the Active Radiance Serum in the evening.

Decleor offers an extensive range of products to tackle pigmentation spots and uneven skin tone, as well as a specific brightening facial available at Decleor salons. The Aroma White C+ Brightening range includes Peony and Saxifrage extracts combined with stable Vitamin C to work on evening skin pigmentation. I was particularly interested in the Brightening Serum and Spot Corrector as I imagine they would allow you to treat specific areas if you preferred not to treat the whole face. I have a few products to try from this range; Recovery Brightening Night Cream, Brightening Serum and Extreme Brightening Essence. I will report back on how I get on with these in due course although I have to say I am enjoying the serum very much.

I have previously mentioned Caudalie's Vinoperfect range. I bought the Vinoperfect day cream a little while ago and this is in the queue of products to try. The active ingredient in the Vinoperfect range is Viniferine which controls tyrosinase activity (to regulate melanin production), has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and improves complexion radiance by stimulating blood flow. Caudalie report that in volunteer trials they observed a good reduction in size and intensity of dark spots. 91% of their volunteers also felt they had an improvement in radiance. There are three products in the range; a day cream, a night cream and a serum. The more recent addition to the Caudalie range, Premier Cru, is apparently good for dealing with hyperpigmentation too.

The New Zealand based skin care brand Snowberry have brought out a range called Bright Defence which is designed to brighten the skin whilst tackle the signs of ageing and hydrating the skin. The brightening agents in these products promise to lighten and reduce uneven skin tone without bleaching or peeling. If you've not come across Snowberry before, it is a premium anti-ageing skin care brand which aims to be highly functional whilst being as natural as possible. Their refusal to compromise on ingredients that may irritate the skin obviously yields good results as I know it has been a big hit with fellow bloggers who have reactive skin. I think this range would be a particularly good choice for anyone that has problems using AHAs.

The Bright Defence range comprises three day creams (oily, combination and dry skin formulations), a night cream and a serum. I am currently using one of the day creams and I will review it in more detail in a few weeks.

I have had recommendations for the Pigment Regulator from SkinCeuticals and Clinique's Dark Spot Corrector. Although I would like to investigate these I am conscious of not trying too many things at once and tend to stick to a strict 28 days per product rule. I will be reporting back on the items I already have to test once I have used them for at least a month. I know some of you have already been on this journey, which products have you tried and which did you feel gave you good results? Are there any that didn't live up to the hype?

Disclosure: The Decleor and Snowberry products have been sent to me without charge for the purpose of review.


  1. Using a vitamin C serum and sunscreen during the day and an AHA at nighttime gave me the best results. I tried a few ranges; the best ones for me were Renee Rouleau and Skinceuticals and I have used and liked that Murad range too.

  2. It's really interesting to hear which one's you really rated Grace. I'm keen to try the Murad. I'll admit to a mild fascination with the fact that some of the American versions contain Hydroquinone. If only I'd have known that before I think it would have been a really interesting discussion point at the event. Not sure if it would have been more or less entertaining than the one we had about childbirth ;)

  3. Yay you have Snowberry!! I have been using the night cream as well as the day cream from the Bright defense range now and I am really impressed,I was tempted to buy the serum from the same range as well, although its a bit spendy. I'll look foward to hearing how you get on with the day cream x

  4. I'm currently using the Clinique's Even better Dark spot corrector. I'm on Day 9 and am very impressed.

  5. Murad's products are pretty good, I have used the set of (vitamin c) serum, moisturiser and face cleanser and within days my skin was glowing and eliminated small wrinkles and made my skin radiant and smooth...

  6. Loving your research Jane. I'll be so interested to see what products you find most effective :)

  7. I'm now 28 years old and suffering from pigmentation since 8 years.please suggest me the proper day and night cream(their names)to cure my problem.I used Kojivate earlier on dermatologist's recommendation.

  8. @Replica: I really like the Snowberry cream, I’m keen to try other products from the brand. I wondered about the cleanser but I seem to think it’s not your favourite? I really love the brand ethos.

    @kat: It sounds like a good one to try Kat, I will be investigation that one as I remembered you’ve been pleased with it.

    @makeupattitude: That sounds great! I just got the cleanser from a magazine offer. I do like the sound of the treatment serums, the active ingredients sound like they would be very effective.

    @dempss: It’s been really interesting but at times mind boggling reading up on all the ingredients and treatments. I have to say I feel like I’m beginning to see improvements, I don’t think I’d realised how much light freckling I had around my forehead and tops of my cheeks. Things are definitely moving in the right direction!

    @Dipti: Hi Dipti, I’m sorry you’re having pigmentation problems too. Unfortunately I can’t suggest one single treatment that is guaranteed to get rid of all pigmentation. I think that skincare regimes will only work on the fairly superficial problems and it can be a lengthy process. I wrote a post about more involved cosmetic treatments which are more appropriate for more stubborn pigmentation problems. If you have access to a dermatologist I would say that they are best placed to offer advice.

    Jane x


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